Understanding the Aeroplan Award Chart

aeroplan-flight-rewards-chart-pdf-featured-image

Not to be dramatic, but the Aeroplan Award Chart is a bible for Canadians looking to maximize their points and miles. We have no less than 11 Aeroplan co-branded credit cards in Canada, meaning that most Canadians interact with the Aeroplan loyalty program, intentionally or not. 

Aeroplan points are a variable points currency, meaning there are many different ways to redeem your points. Understanding the flight award chart is critical to maximizing value when redeeming your points, which is what we’re all about. Hopefully, after reading, you’ll be able to extract more value from your points and take advantage of great deals when you find them.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Aeroplan award chart.

What is the Aeroplan Award Chart?

The Aeroplan award chart is a reference chart that shows how much award flights will cost in Aeroplan points. Aeroplan’s ‘C-Level Roles’ are filled with points nerds, similar to the authors of Frugal Flyer, so I expect Aeroplan to continue publishing an award chart, unlike United MileagePlus, which changes award pricing without warning.

The Aeroplan award chart breaks travel routes out into travel zones and prices flights on Air Canada metal within a dynamic range of Aeroplan points. In contrast, the award chart prices flights on partner airlines at a specific Aeroplan price point. You can access the Aeroplan Award chart directly on their website here.

Implementing consistent pricing is extremely important to the program, allowing users to plan how many Aeroplan points they need to collect before searching and redeeming for their next vacation.

How to Read the Aeroplan Award Chart

The Aeroplan award chart is reasonably straightforward, but you must understand the distance between your origin and destination, including any connecting airports, to accurately price out your desired flight redemption. The best way to do this is to use one of the most commonly utilized tools in award travel, Great Circle Mapper.

The homepage of Great Circle Mapper might look intimidating, but I promise it’s easy to use!

great circle mapper homepage

Let’s say you want to be Emily in Paris but are currently Emily in Winnipeg. A stark contrast, but thanks to Aeroplan, you, too, can have the best pain au chocolat of your life.

Before starting, open up the Aeroplan award chart via this direct link. The Aeroplan Award Chart is divided into four travel zones: North America, South America, Atlantic, and Pacific.

air canada aeroplan travel zones

Using the example of Emily in Winnipeg Paris, we will calculate pricing using the ‘Between North America and Atlantic Zones’ chart.

air canada aeroplan between north america and atlantic award chart

There are many numbers on this page, but we can hone in on the information we need by using Great Circle Mapper. You can get an idea of distance by plugging in your home airport’s IATA code followed by a dash and then the airport IATA code of the city you want to visit. If you don’t know the IATA codes, a quick search with your favorite search engine will provide the answer.

In this case, we would plug in YWG-CDG without spaces or commas.

winnipeg to paris distance on great circle mapper

The result is 4,132 miles, placing us in the 2nd lowest distance ‘band’. However, the problem with this result is that no carrier operates a flight directly from Winnipeg to Paris! FlightConnections keeps us updated with current routes and carriers so you can plan your flight rewards accurately. 

Using FlightConnections, we can see that you must make one connection to get to Paris from Winnipeg regardless of the airline you choose to fly with.

routing options from winnipeg to paris on flightconnections

The further you fly, the more Aeroplan points an award will cost (most of the time), so you’ll want to focus on connecting airports in the same direction as your final destination. To add further complexity, you must connect through cities serviced by Air Canada or their partners to redeem Aeroplan points for your flight.

FlightConnections Premium will allow you to filter by Airline Alliance, which simplifies things, and I think it’s worth the $35.88 per year. When filtering by Star Alliance, we can see the options that are available.

winnipeg to paris routing options on star alliance carriers

Connecting through Chicago will be the greatest distance, so to get a maximum distance (and maximum ticket price), we can add Chicago, which has an IATA code of ORD, to our Great Circle Mapper input.

winnipeg to chicago to paris routing distance on great circle mapper

Finally, we have our maximum potential mileage flown at 4,860 Miles. Returning to the Aeroplan Award Chart, we confirm this will place us in the 4,000 – 6,000 mile distance ‘band.’

air canada aeroplan between north american and atlantic zone award chart with section highlighted

Within the 4,000 – 6,000 distance band, there are prices for Air Canada flights, which are dynamically priced and listed as a range. Below them are the fixed prices for flights with partner airlines. 

The top of the chart lists the class of service, so if you want to fly from Winnipeg to Paris in Air Canada Signature Class, you see it will cost between 70,000 – 180,000 points per person plus taxes and fees.

air canada aeroplan between north american and atlantic zone award chart with air canada business class price highlighted

The problem with Air Canada flights is that they are sometimes dynamically priced above the listed range. Here’s an example of flight prices before the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

winnipeg to paris aeroplan award pricing before olympics 2024

However, if you’re flexible with your dates, you can find partner availability that will always cost the same number of points, whether the cash cost is $400 or $4,000.

aeroplan winnipeg to paris partner space fixed award pricing example
lufthansa business class toronto to paris cash cost

Dynamic pricing can work in our favor on rare occasions. In the example above, an economy-class flight is priced at 38,200 Aeroplan points which is 1,800 points below the listed 40,000 points it should cost. It’s priced like this because an Air Canada segment is priced low, bringing down the cost of the entire ticket. 

Now that you understand how to read the award chart, we will look at how to use the Aeroplan Award chart to find the best deals and maximize the value of our points.

Aeroplan Award Chart Sweet Spots

The definition of a sweet spot is an award ticket that allows us to travel a long distance or on a very expensive flight for very few points. Aeroplan has created its award chart by dividing up large chunks of distance and charging the same price whether you travel 4,001 miles or 5,999 miles.

Most sweet spots in the program exist at the edge of a chunk of distance, like the well-known Aeroplan sweet spot for booking ANA Business Class from Vancouver or Seattle to Tokyo for only 55,000 points.

air canada aeroplan between north america and pacific award chart

This sweet spot exists because the distance between these cities is 4,710 miles and lies within the 0 – 5,000-mile chunk in the ‘Between North America and Pacific Zones’ chart.

vancouver to tokyo distance on great circle mapper

While it’s theoretically possible to fly on Air Canada business class for this price, Air Canada’s revenue management knows that many travelers less savvy than us are willing to pay thousands of dollars in cash to fly business class on this route. This results in dynamic pricing much higher than 55,000 points, even when booking 360 days in advance.

vancouver to tokyo narita aeroplan redemption pricing

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few examples of sweet spots in North America and between North America and the Atlantic zone that you can benefit from when using the Aeroplan award chart. This list is not comprehensive but instead is meant to get you thinking about how to best utilize the award chart to your benefit when booking.

Within North America

When reviewing the most used zone of the Aeroplan award chart, only a few sweet spots exist, but 6,000 Aeroplan points to fly short-haul in economy class is a smoking deal. As is 25,000 points for 5 hours of Air Canada’s best product, Signature Class with lie-flat seats.

air canada aeroplan within north america award chart

Short Hops Under 500 Miles

Eastern-based travelers will benefit primarily, as the West Coast is, unfortunately, more spread out. You may get lucky and find some well-priced Air Canada flights, but searching for routes United Airlines operates will result in nearly guaranteed value. The best bet is to reference FlightConnections, choose your home airport, don’t specify a destination, and filter United Airlines as the only operator.

aeroplan north america short hop sweet spot from toronto

You will see the distance from your home airport by clicking on each destination.

toronto to chicago distance routing on flightconnections

Knowing which routes to search to find the 6,000-point pricing is essential. If you’re searching for flights to Detroit from Toronto expecting to pay only 6,000 points with United, you won’t find anything, as only Air Canada operates flights on that route.

One problem with US-bound flights is that they incur extra taxes and fees, which can quickly diminish the value of your points.

aeroplan canada to usa redemption with higher taxes and fees

However, you can still use this sweet spot within the US or Canada and on flights that originate in the US but are Canada-bound.

aeroplan usa to canada redemption with lower taxes and fees

Cross Country in Business Class

Canadian travelers are lucky our flagship carrier is willing to operate a modern lie-flat seat cross-country. In the US, the best you can do is JetBlue Mint, which is still great but more limited to booking with points than Air Canada Signature Class.

Finding seats at 25,000 points per person from Montreal, Toronto, or Ottawa to Vancouver will be difficult but not impossible. It’s best to sort your search results by Premium Economy, as any flight on Air Canada that operates a Premium Economy cabin will almost guarantee that you will be booking a lie-flat seat in business class rather than a standard recliner. Air Canada still operates their traditional business class with narrow-body planes on these cross-country routes.

aeroplan toronto to vancouver redemption pricing

A flight for 33,800 points is still higher than the listed 25,000 it should cost, according to the award chart, but booking the same flight with cash would cost $2,593!

air canada toronto to vancouver cash fare prices

Redeeming for this flight means your Aeroplan points have a value of 7.7 Cents Per Point, and you’re getting a return of 9.6% for every dollar spent with an Aeroplan premium credit card. (Base earn rate of 1.25 points per dollar x 7.7 cents per point).

You can find prices below 25,000 points per person for business class, but these would be on Air Canada’s 737 Max 8 business class or an even less desirable A321 that has not been retrofitted.

aeroplan toronto to vancouver less than 25000 points business class

It’s worth seeking out widebody planes for an extra 10,000 points, or the equivalent of 2,000 points per hour of a superior business class experience.

If you’re the most frugal of flyers, you could also book Signature Class using a combination of eUpgrades and Priority Rewards for 14,000 points, $100, and 4 eUpgrades.

Between North America and the Atlantic Zone

Aeroplan has solid pricing to get to Europe, but when flying business class, Flying Blue often beats them with their promo rewards of 37,500 points in Business Class. I personally love Air France’s business class, and I would fly it again in a heartbeat. However, Aeroplan points are much easier to earn, so it makes sense their pricing is higher at 60,000 – 70,000 points per person from North America.

This is not to say that redeeming your Aeroplan points for business class flights to Europe is a bad deal. Lufthansa business class and LOT Polish business class often have many seats available, so if you don’t have US Credit Cards yet, you will use Aeroplan a lot as it’s such a widespread program in Canada. An honorable mention to Air Canada, as their flights are often priced well, around 70,000 points per person if you book 360 days in advance.

air canada aeroplan between north america and atlantic award chart

Lufthansa First Class

Lufthansa First Class is one of the few ultra-premium cabins available with Aeroplan points. I have been lucky enough to fly twice in Lufthansa’s A340 First Class, and it’s an extremely enjoyable experience. 

lufthansa first class a340 seat 1k

There are many routes serviced by Lufthansa aircraft equipped with First Class, so no matter where you live, you’ll be able to take a positioning flight to catch this elusive flight.

lufthansa first class routes on flightconnections

The distance between Los Angeles and Munich is a perfect 5,972 miles, so if you can score award availability from there, you’ll enjoy 11 hours of First Class for the same price as the much shorter Boston to Munich 7-hour flight.

The best way to book Lufthansa First Class is to check within three days of departure, as Lufthansa will hold back First Class space from partners until that point.

Turkish Airlines Economy

When flying Economy class, there’s an excellent sweet spot to fly Turkish Airlines from Vancouver to Istanbul directly for only 40,000 points as this route slips just under the 6,000-mile threshold at 5,954 miles.

vancouver to istanbul turkish airlines routing

Vancouver to Istanbul would be an excellent sweet spot for 70,000 points in business class, but Turkish rarely releases business class award seats on this route. You can find business class seats direct from Seattle to Istanbul, but that will cost 90,000 points per person as the distance covered is 6,052 miles. You can carry on from Istanbul to many Asian cities for only 92,500 points, but I will discuss that sweet spot in its own section.

vancouver to istanbul award pricing on aeroplan

The cash cost of a nonstop economy round-trip ticket from Vancouver to Istanbul is often north of $2,000, so redeeming 80,000 points is a great deal! It results in a value of 2.2 Cents Per Point, about what you should expect for an economy booking.

vancouver to istanbul round trip cash fare cost

Travel Further for a Discount

This title seems too good to be true, and I’m sure the loophole will close on this trick at some point, so take advantage while you can! Traveling further for a discount is based on spending time in your preferred travel zone as a stopover and then continuing onto another travel zone. 

If that doesn’t make sense, it’s okay. Flying more distance for fewer points is a complex topic I will explain with many pictures. Let’s start with a reminder of what the travel zones are:

air canada aeroplan travel zones

Using a common example of visiting the Maldives, you will travel from North America to the Atlantic Zone, as the islands are just to the left of the Indian subcontinent. Using Great Circle Mapper, FlightConnections, and the Aeroplan award chart, we can see that we must connect somewhere in Europe, the Middle East, or both.

routing available from maldives on flightconnections

This will result in the trip’s distance totaling over 8,000 miles for a cost of 110,000 Aeroplan points per person in business class.

aeroplan north america to maldives award chart pricing
montreal to istanbul to maldives distance on great circle mapper

110,000 points per person is expensive, so if you can find Qatar Airways Qsuite availability for 85,000 points with Avios, it’s a much better deal that will save you some time and complexity. However, Qatar doesn’t always release award space, and Aeroplan has a few partners, like Turkish, Oman Air, and Gulf Air, that are bookable from Europe to Malé. 

If you can find Etihad Business Class tickets on Aeroplan, it’s an even better experience. But at the time of writing, only Etihad economy tickets are available to book with Aeroplan points. 

The good news is that we don’t have to pay 110,000 points, and we can save bundles of points by including extra flights. Reviewing the Aeroplan award chart between North America and Pacific Zones shows that itineraries between 7,500 and 11,000 miles in distance only cost 87,500 points per person in Business Class—22,500 points less than ending your itinerary in the Atlantic Zone!

aeroplan north america to pacific business class redemption pricing

To keep with my trend of making this a visual article, here’s a map to help visualize the new routing that saves points. Building off our example of flying Turkish from Montreal (YUL) through Istanbul (IST) as a connection, we add a stopover for 5,000 points in Malé (MLE) before continuing onto Singapore (SIN).

montreal to istanbul to maldives to singapore distance on great circle mapper

Satisfyingly, this itinerary squeaks into the 7,501 – 11,000 miles pricing band for a grand total of 10,667 miles. The example is great in theory, but to see it in action, we can use the Online Aeroplan Stopover Tool to get this result.

aeroplan montreal to singapore with stopover in maldives economy pricing

The search result differs from the promised business class itinerary I discussed. However, the Aeroplan search engine still needs improvement and has some limitations with ultra-complex itineraries. Inspecting the details closely and revisiting the award chart shows that the Aeroplan search result is correct in price.

aeroplan between north america and pacific award chart economy partner pricing

The search engine result is more expensive than the award chart, as the itinerary includes the essential stopover, which is charged at 5,000 points. After all, we want to spend time at the W Maldives, St Regis Maldives, or Le Meridian Maldives rather than just flying through the airport. 

If we triple-check our work and look at pricing to Male without adding a stopover and then a flight to Singapore, the price will increase.

aeroplan montreal to istanbul to maldives economy award pricing

If business class seats were available on this route, they would have been priced correctly at 87,500 points, plus 5,000 points for a stopover, for a total of 92,500 points per person. I was able to search each segment individually and find an itinerary that will be priced at 92,500 points per person. I have included each segment from the Aeroplan search engine below.

aeroplan montreal to zurich pricing
aeroplan zurich to maldives redemption pricing
aeroplan maldives to singapore redemption pricing

Aeroplan’s search engine won’t be able to do this independently, but Aeroplan call center agents are knowledgeable and helpful. If you find all your flights in advance, as I have, you can read the flight segments to an agent, specifying you want a stopover in Male, and it will price at 92,500 Aeroplan points per person.

If you did not add on the flight to Singapore, the cost would be 110,000 Aeroplan points per person. Flying more distance saves 17,500 Aeroplan points per person, for a total savings of 35,000 Aeroplan points per couple!

I want to emphasize that this is a real itinerary I searched for and is bookable by anyone. To boot, all of these flights had two seats available. I mainly found the flights using United’s 30-day calendar view and then confirmed the flights on Air Canada’s website, but you can also use award search tools to help you.

Conclusion

The Aeroplan award chart is a complex guide to Canada’s most extensive airline loyalty program. The award chart is well put together and easy to understand with the proper tools and resources at your disposal.

This article does not cover all sweet spots, but hopefully, the examples here will get you thinking about what is possible within the Aeroplan program.

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.

Previous

Everything You Need to Know About American Express (US) Credit Limits

New RBC Bank Account Offers (June 2024)

Next

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated according to our comment policy. Your email address will NOT be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.